Skip to main content

Washington Post focuses on Modi's estranged wife, calls her India's First Lady, wonders why she's abandoned

By Our Representative
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s estranged wife Jashodaben has finally got international attention. Premier US daily, “The Washington Post” (January 25), has taken note of her state on the day American President Barack Obama arrived in India, commenting, “She’s waiting for him, as she has been all her life. But when IPrime Minister Narendra Modi dines with Barack and Michelle Obama at a glittering banquet Sunday night, his wife won’t be by his side.” It adds, “Modi, 64, kept his teenage marriage a secret for decades during his political ascent and only last year admitted that his wife exists.”
A retired teacher "who lives in a small town in Modi’s home state of Gujarat", the daily says, Jashodaben has “not heard from her husband in years“, yet “she says she still hopes to join him one day in the capital as India’s first lady.” It quotes her as saying, “If he calls me, I will go. I hear all his speeches on TV. I feel very good when I hear him speak. I want him to fulfill all his promises to the people. That’s my prayer to God.”
In a report titled “Abandoned as a child bride, India’s first lady still hopes her husband will call”, the daily quotes a Modi biographer Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay to say that the exactly nature of the marriage between the two is not known. “There would have been a ritual that joined them together as man and wife, but they would not have lived together. The family said that the two of them never cohabitated.”
“Modi left shortly thereafter to wander in the Himalayas with little more than a change of clothing in his rucksack. A devout Hindu, Modi was contemplating religious life. Instead, he returned to Gujarat and became a volunteer, or pracharak, in the RSS, a Hindu nationalist group. The young workers, pracharaks, are discouraged from marrying or maintaining close family ties”, the daily says.
Authored by Annie Gowen, “The Washington Post” India bureau chief, the writeup says, “Modi never returned to his wife but never divorced her, even as he became the high-profile chief minister of Gujarat and last year, India’s premier. He never publicly spoke of his wife, and journalists who sniffed around on the topic as Modi’s fame grew were privately discouraged from doing so.”
“Jashodaben Modi saw her husband only once when he was chief minister, at a ceremony at a local temple, according to her brother, Ashok Modi. She lives with her brother in the small town of Unjha, in the northern part of the state“, Gowen says quoting her brother, adding, “He had come to the [goddess temple] for a prayer. They did not speak. They did not even say a word to each other. They just met for five seconds.”
The daily recalls, “The prime minister only officially acknowledged his wife’s existence when he filed his affidavit in April as a candidate for Parliament in the town of Vadodara…During the election, the wife disappeared for a time, reportedly on a barefoot pilgrimage, in her husband’s honour. After he became prime minister, she was assigned an official security detail. But it has not been a happy experience.”
Meanwhile, the daily says, “Nearly a dozen guards watch her 24/7 and follow her in a shiny car as she takes auto rickshaws and public transportation... When she visits friends or relatives, they have to cook for the guards…” It quotes her brother as saying, “The security travels in an air-conditioned car. But my sister takes buses, trains and auto rickshaws. What kind of justice is this? Should a prime minister's wife not get a car?”

Comments

TRENDING

August 22 to be observed as Apostasy Day: International coalition of ex-Muslim groups

By Our Representative
In a unique move, an international coalition of ex-Muslim organisations has decided to observe August 22, 2020 as the Apostasy Day. To be observed for “the abandonment or renunciation of religion”, the coalition, calling upon people to join the call, said, the decision to observe the Apostasy Day has been taken because of apostasy is “punishable by death in Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, UAE, and Yemen.”

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tata Mundra: NGOs worry as US court rules World Bank can't be sued for 'damages'

By Kate Fried, Mir Jalal*
On August 24 evening, a federal court ruled that the World Bank Group cannot be sued for any damage caused by its lending, despite last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the same case that these institutions can be sued for their “commercial activity” in the United States.